A patient apologized to me for asking so many questions. “There’s no need to apologize,” I said to the patient, “It’s wonderful that you have so many questions concerning your healthcare.” I mentioned to her that she is an “empowered and engaged patient,” and that’s a good thing.
It’s no secret that health consumers are turning to the Internet for health information.
In a recent article from MediaPost News, Gavin O’Malley writes that, according to new a study by Epsilon Strategic & Analytic Consulting Group, “40% of online consumers use social media for health information — reading or posting content — while the frequency of engagement varies widely. According to the study, individuals who use healthcare social media fall into two broad groups: the 80% who are highly engaged patients, and take active roles in health management; and the 20% who lack confidence to play an active role in their own health.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*
There’s been a lot of commentary on a recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine, detailing the undocumented tasks that a typical primary care physician performs.
For those who haven’t read the piece, entitled, What’s Keeping Us So Busy in Primary Care? A Snapshot from One Practice, it’s available free at the NEJM website. I highly recommend it.
To summarize, primary care doctors are responsible for much more than seeing patients in the exam room. In the cited practice, which has a fairly typical makeup, physicians were responsible for an average of over 23 telephone calls and 16 e-mails per day. Many practices don’t engage their patients over e-mail, so it’s conceivable that the number of telephone calls is lower than average here. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*
A common problem in healthcare is the number of times that small adjustments are needed in a person’s care. Often for these little changes, a physical exam and face-to-face time have nothing to do with good medical decision making.
Yet the patient and doctor are locked in a legacy-industrialized business model that requires the patient to pay a co-pay and waste at least half of their day driving to and from the office, logging time in a waiting room, and then visiting five minutes with their practitioner for the needed medical information or advice.
Today I’d like to visit the case of a patient I’ll call “DD,” who I easily diagnosed with temporal arteritis (TA) through a 15-minute phone call after she’d spent four weeks as the healthcare system fumbled her time with delays and misdirection via several doctors without establishing a firm diagnosis. Read more »